Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SHS investigating Halloween vandalism

Staff Writer | November 23, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT – Wanted: Information on the person responsible for tagging Sandpoint High School with racist graffiti on Halloween.

Lake Pend Oreille School district is offering a $500 reward for information leading to finding the culprit responsible for the vandalism, district officials said Tuesday.

In the late hours of Halloween night, SHS was marked with vulgar phrases, racist slurs, and other profanity. Dr. Becky Meyer, LPOSD superintendent, said she found it too profane to show or repeat at the school board earlier this month.

“There were so many offensive ones [graffiti marks]. [SHS principal] Jacki [Crossingham] will tell you it wasn't just like spots where they did things. It’s every single spot there, there was some sort of vulgarity,” Meyer said.

The damage extended from the front of SHS to the nurse’s station, located between the high school and middle school, and beyond to the Project 92 fitness center, and various places in the Pine Street Field area.

Discovered early the following morning by multiple SHS staff, Crossingham said the custodial team acted quickly to remove the majority of the graffiti before the school started. She said Matt Deihl, district facilities director, also stepped in and brought in extra hands to help clean up the graffiti.

“It was dark out, but by the time the sun was coming up, they really tackled the vast majority, especially the stuff that was visible as students were arriving at school,” Crossingham said.

However, some work remains to be done, but cannot be completed at this time due to the cold temperatures.

So far, Crossingham said work to clean up the graffiti has totaled more than 40 hours of manpower and cost more than $6,000, a fact that did not sit well with Meyer.

Meyer told school board trustees that she thought it was important for the public and students in attendance to understand that the funds allocated for the clean-up were diverted from other funds that had specific purposes.

“These are taxpayer dollars that our patrons are giving to our school district. That funding is supposed to go to programs and learning for kids,” Meyer said “It really breaks my heart”

Meyer said the best way to ensure things like this do not happen is for students and community members to talk to each other.

“Say, ‘that’s not okay,’” she said.

Meyer and Crossingham echoed each other in thanking the teams involved in the clean-up and the police department for their involvement with the investigationCrossinggham said the police department is reviewing security camera footage and actively seeking the information as part of an ongoing investigation.

Crossingham said Sandpoint Police also has increased evening patrols around the high school specifically in the later hours hoping to prevent future attacks. She also said that in all her years with the district, she has never seen an attack like this school property and hopes to never see it again.

To catch the culprit the district offered what started out as a $200 reward leading to the capture and charging of the guilty party. However, there have been no tips, prompting the district to increase the reward to $500.

Information can be given to Crossingham via email at jacki.crossingham@lposd.org